Extra photographs and information: terrain, wildlife, storieshttp://www.paintersflat.net.
Simply another photo of the creek confluence (water crossing) at 7 (10 T 746656 4497398). It is down in the depression that can be seen in the next picture.
The view of the unnecessary switchbacks at 6 (10 T 746372 4497062), shows two of the draws (the depression in the center of the image) that constitute the Rush Creek Spring drainage.
Fresh Lion Print
If you are solo hiking, it is a good idea to talk to yourself. Mountain Lions are not aggressive hunters, and thus they rarely take humans. Instead, these solitary cats seek to surprise their prey with opportunistic sneak attacks from behind, using concealed positions and short bursts of speed and power. Mountain lions do not like uncertainty. If they know you are coming, they will leave the area, as the one who left this fresh print at Rush Creek Camp did as I approached. They are harmless if you simply announce yourself. Yellow jackets (wasps) are the more dangerous wildlife in this area, followed by rattlesnakes (which are perfectly harmless as soon as you see or hear them, provided you leave these moderately poisonous biters alone - they want you to know they are there - listen for them!) If you are very lucky, you will see a mountain lion, but it is very rare as they are stealthy and easily frightened. They are very beautiful large cats; it is a real treat to see one. (Paula and I have only seen one, and we were driving at the time.) Rattlesnakes and (too commonly) wasps are seen in the warmer seasons throughout much of the Great Basin at this elevation. Antelope, deer, and wild horses are also common, as are domesticated grazing animals, raptors, buzzards (turkey vultures), sage hen, all kinds of birds actually, bats, rabbits, and kangaroo mice. On the rarer side you might see a bobtail cat (bobcat, really a kind of lynx), or perhaps a (very cute) nocturnal kit fox from your camp site at night. Coyote sing throughout the nights all year long.
Basalt outcroppings dominate the terrain - good hiking boots are necessary, and avoid being in a hurry in this ankle twisting, rocky environment. The cheat grass (an invasive species) which now dominates most of the northern Great Basin also obscures many ankle twisting opportunities in these lava flows.
These two photos combined show Stony Creek Mouth (10 T 742008 4497566). The "Ed Fallon" glyph is on the small cliff in the middle.
Watershed crossing - roughly north
Watershed crossing - roughly south
Watershed crossing - roughly east
Watershed crossing - roughly west
Windy, wet snowstorm. It was not cold enough to stickhttp://www.paintersflat.net. except to my outer shell.
One of the nicest moments of my trip was the last. I had been for many hours vectoring toward the location of my truck at the corral, through a windy, wet snowstorm. I was very tired, just following the GPS navigation arrow with my head down (the wind was in my face). I stopped to take the sunset picture (below) of nearby Shinn Mountain (a place that we lovehttp://www.paintersflat.net.), exhausted but happy about the beautiful sight. After putting the camera away, I noticed that my GPS batteries had died, which was not a happy sight because it was very cold and I wanted to get moving again to remain warm. I thought for a second I was going to have to add layers and then dig for and install fresh batteries, which was onerous at that minute, especially because my hands were cold. (Now, warm and dry, it seems pretty lazy!) At just that moment, I looked up and could see the truck in the distance. The batteries gave up at just the right time, and I finished the day's navigation visually.
A snowy, nearby Shinn Mountain seen from where the batteries died.
Shinn Mountain from the corral - the BLM Ramhorn Springs campground up there is well worth a few days of camp timehttp://www.paintersflat.net.
Phase 2 (from Rush Creek Spring to the Terminus), was opened by Brett Stalbaum and Paula Poole June 19th through 21st 2006.
On our hike back, we were following the creek up to Last Camp when we came across these
three horses - apparently a mare and two stallions. Brett tried to get close enough to get a great
picture, but this seemed to agitate the stallions. (The mare was unfazed.) They bucked and fought each other
as Brett and Paula worked around them.
Rush Creek Camp
Paula at Rush Creek Camp
Paula at the De Facto end of the trail
Brett and Paula